Thursday, December 13, 2018

Finding That Magic

Sometimes - especially in the middle of the holiday season - we put pressure on ourselves in all the wrong places. Have you felt that? The desire to make every moment count? Or maybe the desire to keep up with so-and-so and her Anthropologie dessert plates (because, hello, is there anything cuter than that Antro kitchen stuff)? We put so much of this pressure on ourselves, in fact, that we very quickly grow overwhelmed, and we lose the whole point. Celebrating the birth of our Savior and the abundant life He has brought into the world.

The same thing happens in our writing. Sometimes - especially if we've been doing this writing thing a while - we feel as if every page needs to be bestseller status in its very first draft. And so we become acquainted with the feeling of not-enough. Then pretty soon, our not-enough becomes not-at-all. And what started as a totally normal part of the writing process derails us to such an extent that we can't remember the last time we just sat down and wrote at all.

If you're feeling the tug of the not-enough's this season in your life, be encouraged to know God has said you are more than enough, through the grace He has offered. He has power, skill, breath and life for your story in abundance when you look to Him.

Be encouraged that like Christmas lights, our stories shine in between the dark spaces. Sometimes these are even dark spaces of our own lives - discouragement, rejection, failure, or even writer's block. Being too busy. Just to name a few.

But we must keep writing, friends, for the magic moments to come. We must keep telling stories through the dark spaces - because if we don't tell our stories, who will?


Ashley Clark writes romance with southern grace. She's dreamed of being a writer ever since the thumbprint-cookie-days of library story hour. Ashley has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses at her local university. She's an active member of ACFW and runs their newcomer's loop. When she's not writing, Ashley's usually busy rescuing stray animals and finding charming new towns. You can find Ashley on her personal blog, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. She is represented by Karen Solem.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Pitfalls in Story Layering

Today's topic is Pitfalls in Story Layering

Quality stories have layers. That is just a fact. Readers want to know more than just the thin line leading MC from the first page to the last. We thicken that line with layers.

In today's example, I will not only provide an epic story with layers but also point out how the layering benefited the MC's journey. Within this discussion, you will see what must be included when layering to avoid pitfalls. 

Here is the story:

A very pregnant young woman, ready to give birth at any time, and her husband set out on a journey forced upon them by the King. They climb over mountains and through valleys sixty miles to the south of their home to a small village. When they reach the village, the husband stops at every inn, begging for a place to stay. He informs them of his wife's condition. Late that night, an innkeeper takes pity on them and allows them to stay in the stable. It was all he had. 

Far to the east, a group of scholars, very wise men, become intrigued by a certain star. Their studies reveal something special was happening to the west. Upon further examination, they determine the star points the way to a king. This is no ordinary king, but a special one. To visit such a king would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Without a moment's hesitation, they pack for a great journey, including valuable gifts to honor the special king. 

On a hill overlooking a small village, shepherds tend to the care of their sheep. Typically, these shepherds are not allowed in any village because, well, the truth is they smell terrible. At night they make a fire to keep warm and ensure all the sheep have a safe place for the night. While sitting around their campfire, an angel suddenly appears. The shepherds leap and back away, afraid at what might happen. The angel tells them not to be afraid. They would be privy to a special message. A grand announcement of an event taking place in the village that no one knows about. A Savior which is Christ the Lord is born. A host of angels join in the message, praising God for the grand event. After hearing the news, the shepherds could not contain themselves. They ran to the village to see the baby, telling everyone they met the great news. 

Here we have three distinct layers on one epic story, the birth of Christ the Savior. All three layers point to the one message, each filling in a grad story with deep colors, information, and details, giving us, the readers, a fuller sense of understanding.

You may know even more layers in this story. The wise men's visit with Herod, and etc.

The point here is that although each scene appears to have its own story they are all distinctly and completely related to the overarching story. God demonstrates not only a powerful message but also the perfect means to communicate that message.

From this, we can learn not only the Spiritual message but also principles of writing with layers.

~Mary Vee
#TipfulTuesday #Layers #amwriting #writing 

Photo by Mary Vee. How many layers do you see in the photo?

Mary Vee -  Mary Vee - Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary’s list of ways to enjoy a day. She was homeless for a time, earned her MA in Counseling, and married an Air Force vet.  Mary has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her King.
Visit Mary at her websiteblog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter
Mary's new release, Christmas With The Enemy, is available on Amazon.